DONE…..

Life sure has a way sometimes of doing it’s own thing regardless of any plans put into place, you know? I was on it…plans written down…checking them off….movin’ man. But then…

My absence from my blog is not because of anything good. Shortly after my last post I got a call about my dad having fallen. I felt from that very moment that it was the beginning of the end for him. The fall strained his back but no broken bones. You see, at 81 years old, he was pretty much done and at peace with it. He loved me enough to tell me how he felt and how much he loved me. Tears rolled from both our eyes but he wouldn’t go without saying something.

Dad and ZoieDad never met a mean dog….they just loved him.

What can you say?? Aw it’s okay dad….you’ll jump back into life. No dad, don’t leave. Everything will be okay when your back heals. I really think, truthfully, in two weeks at the most you’ll be driving again. I told him all of that except the second one. He wanted to go but he would have tried to stay for his kids….and would have continued to be done.

He said he was tired of playing bingo, tired of playing poker, and tired of being lonely (mom passed in ’07). “Why not move to a retirement village?”, he was asked often. He replied, “Old people live there.” He did live in a very nice retirement complex but did not mingle much with the neighbors. Dad spent years owning restaurants so he was always around young people. Though he dealt with teenage angst from hundreds of employees more than any adult having raised seven children beyond teenage years should have, he preferred the company of younguns…..in relation to his age anyways….30’s, 40’s, 50’s. The 60’s age group was pushing it.

Dad and meDad and me

So on October 14 Roger Groce, Sr. passed away because he wanted to. I’ve heard stories over the years of the elderly dying with no real medical reason. My ex husband’s grandmother fell and broke her collar bone. A fairly minor thing as far as broken bones go, but she was done, having survived the deaths of her husband and her only child, my ex’s father. My grandfather went to the hospital for bowel obstruction. Not a minor thing but definitely survivable even for a stubborn 83 three year old. He kept asking what day it was knowing that my grandmother’s birthday was coming up. He wanted to be with her so on the day before her birthday he fell asleep and never awoke. He was done.

I have chosen to respect my dad’s feelings as they were his alone. I’m not 81 yet so who am I, at 55, to judge it. When your parents reach those ages you know, of course, their days are numbered. It’s a fact of life as we all lose our parents and our children will lose us too. But, I’m hear to tell you that that truth doesn’t give you comfort….not in the beginning anyways.

Dad Nick and meThree generation selfie

So it’s been hard to get back to Etsy. Doubt has filled my thoughts. But my dad is why I had the balls to start down that path in the first place. He made his own way and was his own boss for most of my life. His entrepreneurial drive and spirit has touched all his kids in one way or another. He really liked what I was doing. He’d call me up…”Cin, I think you should make <his idea>. I think it will sell.” He would know.

Bye daddy….I love you….and thank you so so much.

THE BEST LAID PLANS…..

My blog has been weighing heavy on my mind because if you have one you gotta post regularly right?

A handful of kind people have read my blog and I’m certain y’all are wondering where the heck I’ve been. Yeah right!

Two weeks ago I worked every day at my job that actually puts food on the table and funds my Etsy passion. I’m a surgical-technologist-wanna-be-successful-etsy-entrepreneur. Working in surgery is pretty cool. The only two things that gross me out are removing finger/toe nails and teeth. Mafia hoodlums can have it. Let me tell you….I have seen some things. And I take great pride in being a part of helping people in their moment of need.

But that is all I can say about my job. I take HIPPA laws seriously and cannot speak about a specific surgery even if I don’t mention any names.

Another time I’ll post some important observations in regard to female cancers as I’ve scrubbed in many of them.

Scrub girl

Scrub girl — with no makeup and after working very late into the night

My next post catches you up to today. I know you can’t wait!

Thanks for reading….

Facebook and other social media…who has the time??

I stopped the production line on my luggage covers to listen to a webinar on Facebook marketing. I’m telling ya…you truly don’t have to spend a penny on promotion these days. It’s great. There are so many people out there who came before me and want to share their knowledge…for free. My favorite price! But the kicker is: you HAVE to put in the time and sweat.

For the past few weeks my time and sweat has been consumed with mastering the art of mitered seams using double fold bias tape:bias tape hell

Which is a component of these bad boys:
A pile of nearly completed luggage covers

The webinar lost me right at the start when I typed in my FB address to chat: facebook.com/sheislivinoutloud. It didn’t work. How did I not know this? So while trying to listen to and grasp the concepts of fan page promotion, affinity, weight, and time decay I kept going back to “why the heck doesn’t my fan page link work??” First things first man.

By the time the webinar ended I really didn’t hold on to much of the info presented. Sorry Tim! You’re still my Etsy hero!

But !!

The link to my fan page works. Try it: sheislivinoutloud

And !!

My fan page is linked to my blog so now my blog will automatically post to FB.

Bam !!

All was not lost during the webinar. I truly do not know how much of my time and sweat will be allotted to all that is Facebook but I’m really loving this blog thing and now that it’s linked to FB…I’m doing pretty good.

Back to my luggage covers. All they need is elastic on the bottoms. And straps. And photographing. And photo editing. And posting to my shop. And a drink. For me.

These covers ROCK! My son and I ran up to Kohl’s last night….whose security cameras know me well by now…for a final fitting on several different luggage brands. It fits so well. I really did my homework and my design has turned out great. I’ll be posting on the whole process soon. And selling them in my shop. This link works too!: sheislivinoutloud – the coolest little shop around

The Last Birthday in August

August is a month of birthday’s for us. My sister’s is the 2nd, mine is the 9th, my mother-in-law and brother’s is the 23rd, and Kelly’s is the 27th. I love birthday cake!

Every August Kelly says, “Let’s not do birthday cakes.”
Me: Whut? But I love birthday cakes.
Kel: We don’t need it.
Me: And?
Kel: (silence…he knows he’s defeated)

Seriously, there is one day out of 365 days one should eat cake. Am I right or am I right? Don’t get me wrong we didn’t eat five cakes because yes I would have a cake for my brother and mom-in-law even though their bday’s are on the same day. And my sister lives in Wisconsin so I can’t stretch the “But I love birthday cakes” to that extreme.

Kel’s mom celebrated her birthday with us this year…so three cakes….and ice cream. We did good. It was three of the small 5×7 cakes. The trick is to invite enough people over to finish the cake that night.

Kelly turned 50 this year. We did not have a big blow out party. We had the next best thing. Our good friends Shane and Tara came over to celebrate along with their daughter. My son came too. Kel and Shane used to work together and go back a bit farther than the four of us as a group. They are “our people”…as good of friends as you’ll ever have.

pic 2
While we didn’t have a big blow out party….we did have 50 candles on a little itty bitty cake. The word ‘birthday’ is edited because these candles took up too much real estate. You ever try to put 50 candles on a 5×7 cake? Look closely…the A in bday is missing. I broke the stake off the wax. What to do?? This:

pic 1
I started my professional career in quality control inspecting laser systems built for the military. It honed my skills and beliefs of doing things right and with quality products…it’s what you see and will get when you purchase a product from my Etsy shop: sheislivinoutloud.etsy.com. (a shameless plug!) But I also learned this Universal Truth from working in manufacturing:

There is an adhesive for EVERYTHING.

The blue in this pic is Loctite. I’m telling you….never think all is lost. My only concern was how flammable is the Loctite. After all, we were about to have a mini bon fire on the kitchen table as it was.

pic 3
Fiddy candles.

pic 6
The boys had a couple of drinks…Eagle Rare bourbon (a gift from Shane). But Tara and I had a carafe of home made wine: green apple Riesling. The smaller bottles are peach ice wine…a very sweet, potent, desert wine that we were going to make spritzers with. But like I said, the two of us drank this carafe. On a Thursday night with one more day to go and be productive. Enough said.

pic 4
Mini bon fire. No time to stage the shot by getting all the phones and keys out of the way. Or, figure out the settings on my camera to take a better shot. This cake would have a layer of wax very quickly.

pic 5
Yep….he blew them all out at once. I don’t think he had time to make a wish.

pic 7
Happy Birthday honey! I’ll photograph you in a better light next year.

pic 8
He is most happy on the water….

64 ozs

One component of my MYR (Mid Year Resolution) is to drink the standard 64 ounces of water a day. I can’t say that I’ve been successful at this to date. Really, I’m not sure what 64 ozs is anymore.

My excuse has been…and it’s a pretty good one: I’m used to working in surgery and you can’t just say, “Hey, I’ll be back, I gotta pee.” A surgical technologist must be in the room at all times during surgery so another tech would have to scrub in while you excuse yourself and usually there is not an available tech hanging around. So you don’t drink. You don’t drink before the day starts. You don’t drink in between cases unless you have strong PC muscles. Surg techs are in a constant state of dehydration. It’s our normal.

But now I’m home more than at work. I only have my ignorance as an excuse so the surgery excuse sets better in my mind.

Yes, I remember that one cup equals 8 fluid ounces. But it’s been a long time since my mind has traveled up the mathematical ladder of weights and measures. 64 ounces seems like 2 gallons to me.

The idea for this post was going to be me offering a helpful way to ensure we all get our daily 64 ozs. Why not fill a pitcher up with that amount of water?? When it’s empty you’re golden. Genius!

First things first. How much is 64 ozs? Do you know that it’s only a half gallon?? That’s a carton of Blue Bell. That I can visualize.

1/2 gal = 2 qt = 4 pt = 8 cups = 64 oz

Got it.

I can do this….and so can you.

More Passport Covers listed on Etsy — check them out!

I am so excited to get my second product into production however, first things first. I felt I needed to create more passport covers in different patterns before going on to the next big thing. So I did it.

Here’s one:
celtic tri point - olive green square
This one is good for a guy but can go either way. I know I need to make more manly man ones. I really love felting these Celtic knots and will add a few more designs to my collection.

How about this one?
dragonfly - lavender green square
It’s a departure from my skull fixation. So cute!

And this one:
flower power - denim orange square
I call it Flower Power. I’ll be making more in different colors too.

Seven new covers are now posted. They are fun to make. This last batch didn’t take near the time as my first group but I’m still not down to the two hours I’m charging as manufacturing time. That’s the thing about being an artisan (not artesian, Kelly, ha!)…you and your time have worth but you must also charge a fair price to the consumer. If I can’t get my time down to two hours I’ll either have to increase the price or discontinue making them. But that decision is in the future and I’m not too concerned with my below minimum wage at the moment.

Let me ask you….what do you think of them? Honestly. Any suggestions? I’m open!

OKAY…..THE NEXT BIG THING:

Covers for your carry-on luggage. Oh you just wait. They rock if I do say so myself. In a couple of days I’ll add a post showing the process I went through to get to the final design. But for now…it’s back to the sewing machine.

I see people are actually reading my blog. hahaha! I’m so happy I’m not writing to myself. Thanks y’all!

Killing time on a Saturday

We are enjoying unseasonably cool weather in Oklahoma. Typically, August days are an unrelenting high 90 degree temp if we’re lucky. Unlucky is 100 degrees with an even higher heat index. Dead grass follows this weather pattern and while it kills my husband to see dead grass on our acre lot, we praise the high heavens for dead grass at the ranch. This year….no dead grass dang it (for the ranch!). We are on course to have the most rainfall on record this year.

Saturday was wonderful. Clear, clean sky; and not too hot. We had a heavy rainfall the day before and man the heavens opened up again Sat night. Grass is green.

backyard
Yep. Green. And beautiful. Look to the left of the camper. We have a vineyard!

P1000855
There is a row of white grapes and a row of red. They are wine grapes but I don’t remember the variety. We make wine (and beer). It’s a fun hobby!

P1000856
This is Kel’s pride and joy. He built the supports, strung the wires, and keeps it tilled. The vines were little sticks when he planted them during the Spring.

P1000857
We were afraid the amount of rain this year would kill them…and it almost did. But they are thriving and now are long enough to be attached to the lower wire so they’ll grow along it. We cannot harvest grapes until the third year. Kel is the one who is becoming the expert. My only job is to keep the spider mites away. Those suckers are a real problem around here. Neem oil to the rescue.

P1000860
Years ago I went to a wine tasting event while living in Dallas. It was really fun and you should do it if you get the chance. The sommelier was educating us on how a vine absorbs the different elements from the ground as it ages and the roots extend deeper and deeper. Our micro vineyard is planted next to a pond which is not the best place. Think….arid Sonoma or Napa valley….that is not our climate. Amazingly our vines are healthy. But I can’t help but think about the flavors our grapes will absorb as the roots grow to the center of the earth. Hints of pond scum? Won’t know for three years.

Bye!

A Day At The Ranch

Guess what I’m fixin’ to do?

IMGP0689

Mow. And I don’t mean a typical yard. My brothers and I inherited our grandparents place near by. Not quite 23 acres. After they passed, because I moved to Oklahoma, it became my responsibility to care take. And it’s a chore let me tell you. My grandparents kept the place so pretty but they worked nearly everyday on it. And they also had the help of good friends on a near daily basis too.

Then there was little ole me. My son helped. And when I met Kel he helped too…quite a bit. So this has been going on for 11 years and it’s fallen on me the entire time save for 7 months when a brother thought it’d be cool to live at the ranch. Ha! It’s work baby. He soon found that out.

So off I go. First stop: gas. Only I didn’t grab the gas containers from the garage.

So off I go back home. Good thing. Not only did I forget the containers I forgot to lock the front door…water the dogs….and take off my jewelry. The yard has several single earrings hidden within the blades of grass.

Thank you Eggberts for being next to Quik Trip and having a Starbucks cuz this girl is not towing a mower behind a truck and going to the main store!

IMGP0690
Have coffee will mow. This is a bad a** mower. Commercial grade. Zero turn which is a little tricky when you want to take a drink. You will not see the coffee stains on my tee shirt. !!

We used to mow…oh…say seven acres of the property. The remainder is hay, two ponds, and buildings. How do I know seven acres? I don’t. I just pulled it out. Now we mow five acres. How do I know it’s five acres? You got it.

IMGP0691
It’s hard to tell but the foreground is mowed and the back ground is not. It’s at least a foot high.

This is a good time to touch on my MYR where I decreed that I will do things when I say I will….something like that. I was supposed to mow two weeks ago, then last week, then this past Monday, Tuesday for sure, Wednesday I promise, not even going there on Thursday. Now it’s Friday and if I don’t do it my husband will and that’s not right. So the grass grew. And then there was rain and the grass grew more. Off topic: how can I expect myself to follow an exercise and diet plan if I don’t do what I say I will as a kinda normal behavior in my life in general?

IMGP0698
The south lawn looking toward the barns. It looks like hay was cut and ready to bale. There are three huge crape myrtle trees on the left. If only I could dig them up and transplant them on our puny one acre homestead.

IMGP0695
This is a beautiful old oak tree in the front yard. She survived the Ice Storm of ’07 but lost a couple of branches so looks a little misshapen. But she’s lovely. If only I could dig it up…

100_1433 100_1434 100_1440
Ice Storm of ’07. I will only say this: over 100 truck loads to the city wood chipper place and to burn piles on the property.

IMGP0696
Don’t let the pretty orange flowers fool you. This is poison sumac cleverly disguised as trumpet vine. I found this out the hard way. I call them unruly sons-a-bitches. It’s the devil’s plant. It grows along a fence line that’s a couple hundred feet.

IMGP0703
Me. No, I do not have a mustache. It’s dirt. I’m covered in it. That’s how it goes mowing the ranch.

IMGP0706
My savior after a day of mowing. Every inch of exposed skin gets slathered with this stuff.

This property is a gift to my brothers and me. It’s worth quite a bit of cash. I have to remember that it’s a gift and truthfully I don’t always do so. It’s a hassle….a day of work every week if Kel and I do it like we should. We mow grass in the summer and mow leaves from 60 year old trees in the fall, winter, and spring. There is a ton of weed eating and we’ve let that go. The house is barely holding on but the value is in the land so I cannot justify repairing house things because it will be torn down. It’s up for sale and one day it will be sold. Will I miss it?